“Joining the Buddy Program captivates you as if you were abroad”

Buddy Program Carlos Cerra
The GNMI student Carlos Cerra with his two buddies: Aurélie Cornut and Julie Moureaud. / Photo: Carlos Cerra

Carlos Cerra, a GNMI 2nd-year student, writes about his experience participating in ESCI-UPF’s Buddy Program as a local student this year.

The Buddy Program really attracted my attention when I first heard about it. You might have ever listened to somebody speaking about their experiences as an exchange student abroad… Joining the Buddy Program, in fact, is something that actually captivates you as if you were abroad; it is a great opportunity to talk with students from other countries in a different language, which is a very rewarding practice that allows you to expand your social skills.

ESCI-UPF assigns international incoming students from all over the world and matches you up with them considering your likes and dislikes, your hobbies, and your interests in learning new languages.

At the Bachelor’s Degree in International Business and Marketing (GNMI), I chose French as the extra mandatory language subject, so I wanted to match with people who spoke French as their first language. I was told to buddy two European girls, Aurélie Cornut, from Belgium, and Julie Moureaud, from France. First, I communicated with them through email, making myself available to help them when arriving in Barcelona. Afterwards, we shared our Instagram profiles to get a more agreeable understanding of each other.

I met Aurélie and Julie in an activity organised by the university while showing them ESCI-UPF and the UPF Ciutadella Campus. That day, 19th September, we also subscribed to Barcelona’s city centre cultural visit, where we were explained much of its history and traditions, coinciding with the local celebrations of La Mercè.

Some weeks before, in December, after having run into them many times during class breaks, we joined again in another activity organised by the Communication Department to farewell the international students that came during the first trimester and encourage international encounters. We had dinner together while watching Spain playing a World Cup football match in the cafeteria.

I really appreciate the value of meeting new people through these channels, which actually makes you grow personally, as it has made me feel quite closer to the international community and to myself. I encourage students to participate in the buddy program to volunteer and be there to help exchange students!

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